Saturday, August 29, 2009

God’s grace comes from the outside

“The point I am making is quite offensive to us today. It is that God hides himself from us, that he cannot be had on our terms, and that he cannot be accessed from “below” through natural revelation. In the malls, and in much of life, we encounter nothing like this. We expect access. We expect to be able to get what we want, when we want it, and on our terms.

Here this is not the case. Here we have to be admitted to God’s presence, on his terms, in his way … or not at all. We cannot simply walk into his presence. Here nature does not itself yield grace. God’s grace comes from the outside, not the inside, from above and not from within. It is not natural to fallen human life. We enter the presence of God as those who have been estranged, not as those who have been in continuity with the sacred simply because we are human. We are brought into a saving relationship through Christ; we do not put this together from within ourselves.”

—David F. Wells, The Courage to be Protestant (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2008), 190

HT: Of First Importance

Choosing Life before Death - Choosing Thomas

Watch this for so many reasons, but be prepared to cry.

Denny Burk:

" Twenty weeks into their pregnancy, T. K. and Deidrea Laux found out that their son had Trisomy 13—a rare DNA abnormality. After being counseled that “terminating the pregnancy” would be an option, they chose life. In Deidrea’s own words:

“We didn’t not terminate because we were hanging on to some sort of hope that there was a medical mistake or there was gonna be some sort of medical miracle. We didn’t terminate because he’s our son.”

The Dallas Morning News has produced this video chronicling the birth and home-going of Thomas. The Laux’s are members of Paul Lindquist’s church (one of my former Criswell College students), and Paul is the one who alerted me to “Choosing Thomas.” This is an amazing story of love and life, and you need to watch it."

HT: Take Your Vitamin Z

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shepherd or Hireling

The God of Calvin is the good shepherd, who names and numbers his sheep, who saves the lost sheep and fends off the wolf. The God of Wesley is the hireling, who knows not the flock by name and number, who lets the sheep go astray and be eaten by the wolf. Which is more loving, I ask?

Steve Hays

Spiritual Helps a Prayer from The Valley of Vision

Eternal Father, it is amazing love, that Thou hast sent Thy Son to suffer in my stead, that Thou hast added the Spirit to teach, comfort, guide, that Thou hast allowed the ministry of angels to wall me round; all heaven subserves the welfare of a poor worm. Permit Thy unseen servants to be ever active on my behalf, and to rejoice when grace expands in me. Suffer them never to rest until my conflict is over, and I stand victorious on salvation's shore.

Grant that my proneness to evil, deadness to good, resistance to Thy Spirit's motions, may never provoke Thee to abandon me. May my hard heart awake Thy pity, not Thy wrath, And if the enemy gets an advantage through my corruption, let it be seen that heaven is mightier than hell, that those for me are greater than those against me. Arise to my help in richness of covenant blessings, keep me feeding in the pastures of Thy strengthening Word, searching Scripture to find Thee there.

If my waywardness is visited with a scourge, enable me to receive correction meekly, to bless the reproving hand, to discern the motive of rebuke, to respond promptly, and do the first work. Let all Thy fatherly dealings make me a partaker of Thy holiness. Grant that in every fall I may sink lower on my knees, and that when I rise it may be to loftier heights of devotion. May my every cross be sanctified, every loss be gain, every denial a spiritual advantage, every dark day a light of the Holy Spirit, every night of trial a song.

Ignatius the Ultimate Youth Pastor: A Parody

HT: Between Two Worlds

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vessels of glory

“Let us stand still, and admire and wonder at the love of Jesus Christ to poor sinners; that Christ should rather die for us, than for the angels. They were creatures of a more noble extract, and in all probability might have brought greater revenues of glory to God: yet that Christ should pass by those golden vessels, and make us vessels of glory, Oh, what amazing and astonishing love is this! This is the envy of devils, and the admiration of angels and saints.”

- Thomas Brooks, Christ’s Love for us

H.T.: Of First Importance

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Life of Thankful Discontentment

“The Christian life should be a state of thankful discontentment or joyful dissatisfaction! We live every day thankful for the amazing grace that fundamentally changes our lives, but we should not be satisfied. Why not? Because, when we look at ourselves honestly, we have to admit that there is still need for personal growth and change. We are not yet all that we could be in Christ. We are thankful for the many things in our lives that would not be there without His grace, but we should not settle for partial inheritance. We should want nothing less than all that is ours in Christ! In this sense, God does not want us to be content with less than what He wants for us. He calls us to continue to wrestle, meditate, look, consider, resist, submit, follow, and pray until we have been completely transformed into His likeness.”

- Paul David Tripp & Timothy S. Lane, “How Christ Changes Us By His Grace” in The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Spring 2005), 20.

H.T.: Of First Importance

Sunday, August 23, 2009

C.S. Lewis explains what is Life

"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own,” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one by day; what one calls one’s “real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination."

CS Lewis